03:20 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Headquarters of German chemical company BASF

    German Chemical Giant BASF Building $10-Billion Site in China as Beijing Trying to Lure Investors

    © AP Photo / Michael Probst, File
    Asia & Pacific
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    While China is struggling to end a tariff war with the US, Beijing continues to try to lure foreign direct investment into the country with reduced regulation. In a November guideline, the Chinese government outlined 20 policies to create a more foreign-friendly business environment.

    Germany-based industrial behemoth BASF has started building China’s first fully foreign-owned chemical complex in Guangdong Province in the country’s south. The integrated project, for which the framework agreement was signed in January, is worth $10 billion. The new complex, when it is ready, will be the company’s third-largest site in the world after the firm’s plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany and Antwerp, Belgium.

    The product range of the new site will include engineering plastics, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and petrochemical goods for several industries, namely electronics and new energy vehicle manufacturing.

    Although it is planned to be fully completed by 2030, the first phase will be launched in two years and is expected to produce 60,000 tonnes per year.

    “(The project) will form a solid foundation for a world-class industrial cluster in Zhanjiang and establish stronger business connections between South China and other Asian countries”, BASF regional official Stephan Kothrade said, as cited by the statement.

    Hunting for Foreign Investments

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang welcomed the launch ceremony with a special letter, noting that this event signals the country’s “opening-up measures are being implemented”.

    “The Chinese government is unswervingly expanding its opening-up and its door to the outside world will open wider and wider”, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reports, citing the minister.

    According to the outlet, he noted that Beijing will continue developing “a market-oriented and internationalised business environment” and provide equal treatment to both foreign and domestic enterprises.

    While the world’s second-largest economy has been entangled in a tariff war with the US, the sharp fall in foreign direct investment and the pull-out of manufacturing facilities have concerned decision-makers, as the South China Morning Post indicated this week.

    Although the head of the Ministry of Commerce’s foreign investment department, Zong Changqing, insisted that “massive outflows of foreign funds had not taken place” and the “inflow remained steady in terms of overall scale”, the country is stepping up efforts to lure investors to China.

    Apart from a foreign investment law, passed this year to sort out the playing field for foreign firms and due to come into force in 2020, the Ministry of Commerce also outlined 20 policies to set up a more “fair, transparent, and predictable” environment for international business.


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